Pesticide Handling Practices and Quantitative Sensory Testing among Foggers in Vector Unit, Kuantan District Health Office

Samsuddin, Niza; Artika Hassan, Noor; Wahida Saad, Nurul; Zamzila Abdullah, Nor; Razazli, Ailin; Aiza Zakaria, Nur; Mohamad, Masran
February 2013
International Medical Journal;Feb2013, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p2
Academic Journal
Objectives: Workers in vector borne disease control unit, Ministry of Health (MOH) used pesticides heavily due to fogging activities especially in dengue outbreak. During the medical surveillance programme, the workers were found to have poor compliance in PPE usage and frequently complaint of health problems after the pesticides exposure. However, there is no published scientific report on this matter. Therefore, this article is to report pesticides handling practices, common symptoms and quantitative sensory testing (QST) among the vector unit workers who are chronically exposed to pesticides. Material and Methods: A total of 78 workers in vector unit, Kuantan District Health Office underwent assessment of pesticide handling practices and prevalence of symptoms related to pesticide toxicity through guided questionnaire. Blood was taken for pseudo-cholinesterase (pseudo-CHE) activity level and QST was conducted by using a neurometer test. Results: The workers consist of 98.7% Malays and the rest are Chinese. The age ranges from 23-57 with mean of 36 ± 9 years. Pesticides used were from WHO class II to III. The availability of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) was from 97% for respirator and 55% for plastic apron. There was also a variation in the percentage on the usage of different types of PPE during mixing and fogging operations. About 25% of them had poor technique of fogging, 95% never bathe and 70% never change uniforms after fogging at the workplace. The parts of body commonly splashed with pesticide were hands (84.6%) and face (66.7%). The pesticides spillage and direct contact with skin were due to wind during fogging (80%), mixing activities (47.4%) and tank leakage (30.8%). The most common symptoms complained by the workers were respiratory symptoms, skin and eye problems. All the pseudo-CHE activities were within the normal range and the mean activity level was 11100 ± 2232 U/L. Many of the workers had hypoesthesia with 9% at 2000Hz, 54% at 250Hz and 31 % at 5Hz. Less than 5% of them had hyperesthesia. Conclusion: This report supports the chronic symptoms and the possibility of toxic peripheral neuropathies among the fog- gers in addition to the poor hygiene and pesticides handling practices at the workplace. Conducting job safety analyses (JSA) and the implementation of hazard identification, risk assessment and control (HIRAC) is very crucial to minimize the risk and secure the safety and health of the workers.


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